The number of businesses employing people has fallen from 37% to 28% of all businesses. Is this a good time for Government to be imposing regulations that will make small business owners even more wary of employing people?
As the party conference season gets well under way the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is calling upon all three major political parties to temper their calls for 'family-friendly' working practices with a dose of reality.
Proposals have come from the Liberal Democrats, Labour and the Conservatives on how businesses may have to alter their working conditions and prove that they are doing so to favour families.
However, in reality small firms are already drowning in red tape - spending an average of 28 hours per month filling in regulatory forms already. Those who need additional human resources are finding ways to contract man power without having to employ people.
With small businesses employing over half of the private sector work force and contributing 58% of GDP, holding back small business growth is not in the best interests of the UK economy.
Carol Undy, FSB National Chairman, said, "Small businesses are often in the vanguard of new family-friendly policies as the workers and the boss are usually in the same room. They can therefore work out ways of working to suit the work/life balance much more easily than in a large business.
"However, when the Government gets involved in this equation it can create antagonism that was not present before. What was once a good-natured compromise becomes a confrontation.
"So the message is clear to all political parties. Family-friendly policies are no doubt done with the best of intentions but implementation must be done carefully - with the needs of employers fully considered - if the economic well-being of the country is not to be put at risk. Restricting small business growth will cost jobs and that will benefit no-one. I will be at the party conferences with FSB colleagues to make sure that this message gets through."
Read related items on:
Federation of Small Businesses